The best sky resorts and shopping areas
Skiing - Vallnord
Firstly, the Vallnord ski/snowboard resort is located just north of the capital and links the skiing areas of Pal, Arinsal and Arcalis with a cable car and just a single ski pass is needed for all the areas. The vibe here is an exceptionally family-friendly one and the real snow is generally excellent right throughout the season and is otherwise guaranteed snow through the snow cannons, making it an incredibly attractive ski resort. The slopes offer a variety of runs that cover green, blue, red and black types as well as freestyle areas, wood parks, children runs, medical centre, car parks, cafes and restaurants. The Vallnord Ski School has over 250 instructors that can cater for all standards and ages and can either take lessons in groups or privately, which is totally up to you.
Programmes can go on for a day, a few days or even week long courses and they also offer special courses for kids and toddlers, where they get use to the snow in their snow gardens and nurseries. If you don’t feel like skiing or snowboarding, then you can try snow-mobile rides, Speed Riding, Bungee Trampoline, airboarding and Laser Combat.
For accommodation, you can either stay in La Massana or in Ordino with both places being located on the foot of the slopes and both offering a wide range of chalets, apartments and hotels with the choice of self-catering, private catering or head to one of the numerous restaurants that serve a wide range of cuisines. Both areas also have a great selection of bars and clubs, where you can dance the night away.
Skiing – Grandvalira
This ski resort covers the ski areas of Soldeu and Pas de la Casa, which has made it one of the biggest of its kind in Europe with over 118 slopes that provide all the different levels of runs. It has even hosted the Speed Skiing World Cup and the Women’s Skiing World Cup in the last few years, which has put Grandvalira firmly on the international skiing map. The ski resort is also home to children circuits, freestyle parks, snow parks and a ski school, which offers all types of lessons for snowboarding and skiing, covering all standards and ages. If you want a change in terms of different activities then the ski resort also offers snow biking, dog-sledging, cross country skiing, paintballing or even try a night in the Igloo Hotel, which is built entirely from snow and also houses a bar, restaurant and jacuzzi.
The best places to stay are either Soldeu or Pas de la Casa as they have a huge selection of accommodation with both being right by the slopes with the majority of places offering some of the most luxurious hotels, apartments and chalets. They also offer the most impressive views over the mountains and both have a vast array of shops that sell hardware, clothes, food and much more. The restaurants differ from fast-food joints to top quality five-star places, which offer many cuisines from around the world.
The capital, Andorra la Vella, is full of cheap bargains with general high priced items in the world, being the cheapest here as the country has low tax. The best place to go for shopping is the area around Carlemany Avenue as there are many diverse shops that line the streets including ones that sell electronics, vintage clothes, cosmetics, toys and much more. There is also the huge Illa Carlemany, which is the newest shopping mall and is found right in the heart of the city. Here, you will find a temple of fashion stores with many of them being top-class brands and there are also cafes, restaurants and a cinema. There are also a bunch of hotels nearby that will suit your needs and there are many restaurants, which serve a whole range of cuisines including European, Asian and American dishes.
The other place to check out for shopping is Meritxell Avenue in Escaldes Engordany, which is home to various department stores that have a brilliant range of electronic goods, family-friendly restaurants, designer clothes and lots of supermarkets that sell quality Andorran and Spanish foods and wines. There are also things like ski and snowboard shops, music stores, jewellery places, beauty products, vehicle accessories and all are at competitive prices. Also, this area has many drinking establishments, restaurants and hotels with something for everyone.